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Noteworthy Facts About Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

It will interest you to know that Universal Pictures is one of the US’s outstanding media companies. It is one of Hollywood’s legendary ‘Big Six’ film studios founded in 1912. As it stands, it has become one of the most profitable media companies in America, with thousands of its movies dispersed. Here are some exciting facts on Universal Pictures:

To begin with, Universal Studios is unarguably the oldest film studio noted to have sprouted from America. It was established in 1912 and is notably the fourth oldest film studio in the world. The oldest film studio in the world was founded in 1895 in France – the Gaumont Film studio.

In 2003, Universal Studios was almost acquired by a fellow ace media production company named MGM. MGM sought strategic expanse and business partners and thought Universal Studios as a great option. They even tried to merge with Sony as well, but unfortunately for MGM, none worked out.

The year 2015 is noted to be one of the outstanding years of Universal Productions. For the first time in their history, they released three 1 billion dollar films, all in the same year: Jurassic World, Minions as well as Furious 7.

Furthermore, Universal Studios Orlando once housed a themed attraction that features quite a distressing ride that doesn’t exist anymore. Then, visitors would sail to Amity Harbor and subsequently get chased by a massive white shark. The attraction was built with $30 million but was shut down in 2011 and replaced with the Transformers ride.

It will further interest you to know that Universal Orlando is home to the largest collection of Harry Potter’s Merchandise.  There is absolutely no other place in the world that beats Diagon Alley in terms of Harry Potter assets, be it in mugs, accessories, wands, apparel, stickers, toys, pins, costumes, key chains, etc. Diagon Alley is simply a paradise for Harry Potter fans.

Lastly, one other fact is that the gloomiest ‘scene’ to ever take place at one of Universal’s theme parks was that, in 2015, a man committed suicide as he shot himself near the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, in the Universal Studios. The news, however, was, to a large extent, contained in the U.S.

In conclusion, noted as one of the legendary film studios, not just in the U.S, but in the world, Universal Pictures has made quite a remarkable history so far, being home to several outstanding media content, particularly in the film world.

Revealed! Companies pay dividends because they have earned so much

Companies pay dividends because they have earned so much

Generally, companies are not obliged to pay dividends. It is within the discretion of the company to determine whether or not payment of dividends is suitable. Here is a helpful tip for those who don’t know what dividends are. Dividends are corporate earnings that are usually paid to shareholders.  Company owners have confirmed that paying dividends offers a lot of benefits to both the shareholder and the company. Here are a few pieces of information on reasons why these companies pay dividends.

First, companies pay dividends because they have earned so much in a fiscal year. In other words, they enjoy financial abundance, which makes them pay their shareholders a part of their earnings. This is very common to big and giant companies like Apple, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, etc.  On the other hand, it may be difficult for small businesses or start-ups to pay dividends. This is because they always want to reinvest their earnings.

Again, companies pay dividends to attract more investors. This is done with a promise that the investors will enjoy more benefits. There is no doubt that many investors love to extend their streams of income to receiving dividends. So, when they constantly receive their dividend payments, they are encouraged to invest more money in the company.

Furthermore, companies pay dividends to portray their financial well-being in a good light. When a company consistently pays dividends to its investors, it shows that the company has the financial strength to keep paying. There are even times that some of these companies run into financial hardships. But when they keep paying their dividends, it communicates positivity despite the harsh financial conditions.

However, where a viable and big company with a consistent history of dividend payments suddenly stops payments, it shows pessimism and financial downturn. This will chase prospective investors away. It is worthy to note that companies that pay dividends turn out to be the most viable. They are also gradually becoming blue-chip companies.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that dividends are beneficial to both investors and the company. Dividends serve different purposes to both sides of the divide. So, it is advised that companies reach a consensus with their investors to determine whether or not to pay dividends or to reinvest. This will further strengthen the trust in their business relationship.


Exxon Mobil: The Evolution Of The Oil Giant

Exxon Mobil

Exxon Mobil is an oil and gas operations company. It is a company that is saddled with the responsibility of exploring, developing, and distributing crude oil and natural gas. Notably, this duty is carried through the companies’ divisions and affiliates. Exxon Mobil produces and sells petrochemicals like aromatics, polyethylene, polypropylene, and a lot of other products. Exxon Mobil is also involved in the generation of electric power. All these are operated in three stages by Exxon Mobil: Upstream, Downstream, and Chemical. This has no doubt help them achieve a great feat. Here is a little piece of information on how this multinational company emerged and evolved since its creation.

Exxon Mobil Corporation was created from the merger of two powerful oil companies. They are Exxon and Mobil. This merger was done in 1999. It is noteworthy that these two companies were offshoots of Standard Oil, owned by John D. Rockefeller.

Interestingly, the journey of this phenomenal merger began in 1998. Exxon and Mobil signed a definitive agreement of about USD73.7 billion. The merger was then finalized on November 30, 1999. This came after getting the required shareholders and regulatory approvals.

Many people attest that this merger was unique in American history. This is because it is regarded as a reunion of the Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Co of New Jersey and Exxon of New York/Mobil. This reunion brought the emergence of the greatest merger in US corporate history.

Since then, Exxon Mobil has witnessed an impressive evolution. In 2000, Exxon Mobil began to sell petroleum products to more than 700 Mobil-branded stations in California. In 2005, Exxon Mobil’s stock price began to skyrocket in parallel with the rising global oil prices. It was recorded that ExxonMobil earned profits of USD 36 billion at the end of 2005. This was a 42% increase from the previous annual income of the company.

Furthermore, ExxonMobil made more giant strides in 2010. This company acquired XTO Energy. This company has also produced unconventional resources. This provided the opportunity for ExxonMobil to begin the Floating Liquefied Natural Gas development. Again, ExxonMobil sealed a deal that allowed it to begin production and exploration activities in Kurdistan, Iraq.

In conclusion, ExxonMobil has continued to wax stronger with profitable deals and impressive innovations. It is amazing that with the numerous achievements of this company, they continue to expand their frontiers. Kudos to ExxonMobil!

Roles Of The Stock Market On Investment

Roles Of The Stock Market On Investment

The stock market is coming together of buyers and sellers who trade in stock. It is nothing like a grocery for buying bread or meat. Firstly, the solitary option is not just to buy stocks; stocks can as well be sold. Secondly, there is a more thorough process for trading in the stock market. One has to go through a licensed brokerage to buy or sell a stock. This brokerage then make trades on your behalf.

Not far behind the stock market is the stock exchange. The Stock exchange is an infrastructure used to aid the buying and selling of shares. It can also be defined as a traditional medium or marketplace where securities, like stocks and bonds, are exchanged between a stockbroker and a trader. It is considered as the key component of a stock market.

55% of Americans are invested in the stock market.  A percentage caused by the great depression of 2008. As of then, 62% of America’s adult population owned their stock. Stock investment is strongly dependent on household income, formal education, age, and race. The stock market is not limited to individuals. Big companies are the major players in the stock market. Companies are often seen aiming to be listed on a reputable stock exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or Nasdaq for attractive reasons.

Some of the benefits of the stock market to listed companies include liquidity for the company’s shareholders, stock option plans that can be put in place for employees, and listed shares that can be used as currency by the company. These might be the reasons why large companies are public rather than private.

Over a long period, stocks generate investment returns that beat every other asset class. Returns on stocks can then be realized through capital gains or dividends. Capital gains are shared profits of publicly-traded companies. And the dividend is the amount given per share of stock one owns. Another way investors profit is by selling their stock. Usually, this is done only after the price has increased.

In conclusion, one major player in the stock market that links participants and acts as financial advisors is the stockbroker. What they do is to buy and sell stocks on behalf of their clients. Their role is, however, more sophisticated than that. Other roles include investment adviser, financial adviser, wealth manager, or investment professional. They are people to be trusted for a smooth investment ride in the stock market.

Our top 3 tracks from Amalia Kadis’ new album I Found You

Amalia Kadis

Although it was set to be released in late September, Amalia Kadis’ debut album I Found You was rescheduled to drop on October 1st (01/10). While we had to wait a tiny bit longer to hear her new music, after listening to the album, we have to say that it was well worth the brief delay.

Amalia Kadis

I Found You, which you can listen to on Spotify right now by clicking here, features 11 original tracks produced by Amalia Kadis. The album carries 4 of the hit singles that were released earlier in 2020 and features 7 brand-new tracks never heard before.

Below, we’ll rank our top 3 favourites.

1.     Sorry Not Sorry

Every artist needs to release their signature breakup song, and Sorry Not Sorry is a really catchy one. The track starts softly but picks up very quickly around the minute mark, and Amalia Kadis’ vocal performance is addictive, particularly when it comes to the expertly written chorus.

2.     I Found You

The album’s titular track is a spectacular showing of Amalia Kadis’ vocal talent, and quality beats production. We really love the brief trap breakdown in the 2nd half of the track, right before the driving beat and chorus returns.

3.     Kau Sesuatu

Kau Sesuatu is the most unique track on the album since it’s performed in Indonesian, Amalia Kadis’ native language. Since we hadn’t heard her sing in Indonesian before, the track was a real treat for us and the smooth vocals she’s known for sound absolutely incredible. The backing track also has a really relaxing vibe, and we love the sounds of traditional instruments sampled in it.

Amalia Kadis

It was hard to select the 3 tracks above because every song on the album is amazing. Amalia Kadis has earned a well-deserved break after the release of I Found You, but we’re impatient to hear what she comes up with next!

Reasons Why Companies Choose To Stay Private In Recent Times

WeWork IPO

Over the years, companies used to anticipate the times they would go public on the stock exchange floor. Going public for companies was the trend. Many company owners would dream of gonging the bell to open trading at the New York Stock Exchange. But, in recent times, there has been a paradigm shift. Many companies now prefer to stay private. Statistics even show that the number of companies that stay public dropped by 52% from the late 1990s to 2016. Here are some insights into the reasons for this latest trend.

Securities and Exchange Commission

It is essential to know that there is still an increasing passion for entrepreneurship in these times. But the idea of making companies go public has dropped abruptly. One major reason why companies now want to stay private is that they want to avoid the increasing numbers of regulations from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It is widely believed that the regulations are restricted to companies that trade publicly. So, to avoid being bound by these restrictions, they decide to stay private.

Another reason companies choose to stay private is to keep their business(es) in control. Privately traded companies are always able to exercise a higher level of control over their business. For instance, when they go private, the business (es) can be kept in the control of a select few or family members. So, these companies are not subject to the influence of any shareholders.

Furthermore, companies choose to stay private to avoid the volatility that is faced by publicly traded companies. That is because employees of privately traded companies can focus on their jobs. They don’t have to worry about the “ups and downs” of the stock market.

Again, companies often choose to stay private to avoid the substantial risk of an initial public offering. However, this is not to say that IPO is bad. It is very effective for companies that have access to large capital. But it is always very risky for companies that are just growing. The WeWork IPO debacle is an example of one such hazard of IPO.

In conclusion, a company can either go public or private. Both options are beneficial and viable. The most important thing is that companies should go for what best suits them.

The Biggest Trade Secret Crime In America’s History

The Biggest Trade Secret Crime In America's History

Anthony Levandowski is well known for advancing the field of autonomous vehicles and his expertise in engineering. He was heavily sought after by companies such as Google and Uber. Levandowski ended working for both companies and created a fantastic impact in setting up the companies’ field of autonomous vehicles.

Levandowski began working for Google in 2007 after impressing Google co-founder, Larry Page. He was one of the company’s founding members of the self-driving car project called “Waymo.” By 2016, Levandowski resigned from the company and co-founded a company called “Otto.” Uber later acquired the company in July 2016. Levandowski immediately assumed leadership of Uber’s driverless cars operations.

By February 2017, Google filed a lawsuit against Levandowski, accusing the engineer of downloading thousands of confidential files to a personal hard drive. The stolen document was alleged to have contained trade secrets, technical specifications, and Lidar designs. The civil suit between Google and Uber was resolved in February 2018, with Uber agreeing to pay Waymo 0.34% of its’ equity, valued at about $245 million.

Uber took a step further in May 2017 by firing Levandowski for failing to cooperate with the internal investigation on the allegations filed by Google. Uber lawyers soon appealed to their customers for employing Anthony Levandowski.

The case was resolved on August 4, 2020. “This is the biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen. This was not small . . . This was massive in scale,” William Alsup, the U.S District Judge, said after Levandowski pleaded guilty on one count of trade theft, according to the Department of Justice press release.

The court fined Levandowski $95,000 and ordered him to pay $756,499.22 on restitution to Google’s self-driving car unit, Waymo.

The former Uber self-driving car executive was sentenced to 18 months in prison. However, he was granted permission not to be imprisoned immediately due to the Coronavirus outbreak at the time of his judgment in August 2020.

Levandowski’s lawyers restated his commitment to innovation after the ruling, but as the judge stated, it was the biggest trade secret crime in America’s history.

Investment In The Billionaire’s Club

Investment In The Billionaire

Since the start of the 21st century, household names such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Ellison have been at the top of the billionaire rich list. Therefore, it is important to learn one or two lessons from their distinctive understanding of making money.

Of the over 500 billionaires in the United States, 363 are self-made. The high rank of self-made billionaires is followed by 105 who have achieved the exclusive billionaire status through inherited wealth and hard-earned wealth. The remaining 117 billionaires became wealthy as a result of wealth passed down as an heirloom.

However, the above stat is the most popular one used to justify the wealth of billionaires. Although it is true, it does not fully express popular paths taken by billionaires to make their money. The fact is that billionaires did not just appear with 10 digits. Most of them toiled the critical finance and investment industry.

Given the recent boom in technology, it is easy to think that there are more tech geeks than members of the finance and investing list in the billionaire cadre. Of the top 10 billionaire making industries, finance and investments topped the list with 14%. The second industry on the list is the fashion and retail industry who had 11%. Real estate and technology industries came in as third and fourth, respectively, with 10.4 and 10.0 percent.

Without a doubt, an investment can be in real estate. Hence a whopping 24.4% of the Three Comma Club came about their wealth through one form of investment or the other. Investment is the only money-making strategy that unifies all billionaires. What many of these billionaires do is diversification. They put their money in different places.

Let’s take the tech giant, Bill Gates, as a case study. The former Microsoft CEO owns 54,912,525 shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Waste Management, Inc. comes in at second as Bill’s second-largest holding with over 18.6 million shares. Even though speculations say Apple and Microsoft are bitter enemies, Bill Gates bought 501,044 shares in the apple stock.

In conclusion, investment portfolios are what billionaires use to increase their money on multiple fronts. Warren Buffet, the most influential investor of all time, said, “The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself…”

Only 12% Of Americans Are Healthy – And It’s A Concern

Americans Are Healthy

Food insecurity has never been a challenge in the United States, but nutrition insecurity appears to be an epidemic. While the former is concerned about providing more food, the latter is concerned with providing the right food. The US healthcare budget may have tripled from 6.9% in 1979 to 17.7% in 2020, but the problem remains unsolved.

Three out of four Americans are overweight or obese, according to the Centre for Disease Control. Besides, nearly half of US adults have diabetes. A 2018 study quoted by CNN revealed that only 12% of America’s adults are metabolically healthy. The troubling figures showing the deterioration of Americans’ healthcare isn’t so difficult to identify; “Too many calories,” says Barbara Gollman, a registered dietician who used to be the spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

“In 1978, a teenage boy in the United States drank about seven ounces of soda a day. Today, he drinks nearly three times that much, getting a whopping 9% of his daily calories from soda,” Eric Schlusser wrote. The regular intake of diets loaded with cholesterol, salt and sugar, and fats and calories has created a more unimaginable situation for the United States.

The problems seem to be on the rise with about 170,000 Fast-food restaurants and 3million soft drinks vending machines spread across the United States, ready to gratify the natural cravings for sugar and fats. The situation is also not helped by the fact that about three out of four Americans have an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils.

The implication of citizens paying less attention to what they consume has come at a very high price. The Federal Nutrition Research Advisory Group revealed that unhealthy diets kill more than half a million people each year in the United States. By August 2020, during the Coronavirus pandemic, United States recorded nearly a quarter of the virus’s deaths.

Healthcare in the United States needs more attention than it is getting. Much of that responsibility lies with the citizens who may be required to pay better attention to what they consumer. More awareness must be created by appropriate agencies to ensure the epidemic is handles effectively.


Investing In Mineral Resources: Gold

Mineral Resources gold

Minerals are non-renewable resources for the construction, manufacturing, and energy companies. For states that are endowed with many such resources, it has proven to be a dependable contributor to the economy. However, it must be explored in a well conservative manner. Hence, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. To improve, protect, and conserve natural resources.

The United States is the third-largest country in the world geographically. Her large expanse of land is also home to a lot of mineral resources. Some of the minerals mined in the U.S. include coal, copper, lithium, silver, iron ore, nickel, lead, and highly-priced gold.

However, gold is not the most valuable mineral resource. Other mineral resources such as lithium, blue garnet, jadeite, and rubies would beat gold to that accolade. Yet, gold is a very reputable mineral, especially in the financial market. In 2018, the United States produced 210 tonnes of Gold, which makes her a net exporter of gold.

Investors looking to invest in gold have options to assess. An option is buying the physical gold metal. This investment option accounted for two-third of annual gold investments. The purchase can be made from a metal dealer, a bank, or brokerage. This investment insulates an investor from a system-wide crisis.

There is another option, which is buying gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Gold ETFs invest in up to 99.5 percent of pure gold. ETFs are listed on the BSE and NSE, which means they can easily transact in qualities lower than physical ownership. It is a good financial diversification strategy.

For experienced investors, who do not want to risk a lot of their capital, they can buy gold derivatives options: futures, forwards, and options. It requires a good knowledge of financial security and may not be suitable for all investors.

The last suggestion here for investing in gold would be, buying gold mining stock. Here, the company’s stocks correlate directly with gold prices. However, mining companies can either fail or succeed in how they deploy capitals and generate profits.

Gold is seen as a haven in investment because it is less volatile than other investments, like stock. Although gold is a more feasible investment, it has its hassles. These difficulties encompass insurance, transaction fees, and cost of storage. You should also determine the purity of the gold before buying it. You don’t want to pay for 18 karats when you are only getting a 14 karat piece.